Thud Rumble’s Invader Mixer Puts A Computer In A Mixer

We first heard of Qbert’s Thud Rumble working with Intel over a year ago, with the goal to bring microcomputers into the DJ booth and eventually replace laptops. Yesterday, at Intel’s IDF keynote, Qbert showed off a prototype of their Invader mixer – with a touchscreen display showing Traktor Pro on the mixer. Keep reading for what we know so far.

Thud Rumble Invader Mixer With Intel Inside

  • Gear: Invader mixer (prototype)
  • Designer: Thud Rumble
  • Expected Price: $1,699
  • Availability: Shipping end of 2016
[Photo credit: AOL, Roberto Baldwin]
Say hello to Qbert’s dream laptop-free mixer? These prototypes units are still very much basic test runs – but so far the feature set seems to be:
  • touchscreen display (looks to be about a 10″ screen)
  • two-channel mixing section
  • EQ / browse encoders / knobs still seem to be in development
  • 8 cue buttons (arcade buttons) for each deck
  • Windows 10 / Intel processor
  • currently no soundcard, although they are “working with Native Instruments” to have an audio interface made
  • additional HDMI out for video mixing

In terms of size, the final Invader mixer could be “as thin as two centimeters” with feet to adjust it up to standard mixer/turntable height. But with a smaller surface area touching the DJ booth, it’ll be critical for those feet to be super grippy, especially since so much lateral motion (cutting on the crossfader and channel faders)

The back of the Invader prototypes. [Photo credit: AOL, Roberto Baldwin]
For now, these prototypes are very much just that – it’s not a final mixer by any means. Check out the above photo – at this stage, the Invader mixer is appears to just be just a MIDI controller with a built-in touchscreen to the faceplate, and a computer sitting underneath. There’s not even a back I/O section yet – in these prototypes they’re using external Traktor sound cards.

But Is A Mixer With A Computer Inside It Really Better?

The touchscreen on one of the Invader prototypes. [Photo credit: AOL, Roberto Baldwin]

“[…] the Invader negates the need to drag your personal data around with you. Fainer points out that you already have to carry a mixer around. “You don’t want to be carrying your laptop around too. You have your whole life on that thing,” he says.” – Engadget

We’re not entirely sure that this type of logic works for many DJs who aren’t dedicated touring professional turntablists. Most working DJs:

  • buy new songs that live and are organized on their laptop without transferring them to a second computer (maybe a USB stick for CDJ users)
  • tweak and adjust their DJ software settings on their laptop without needing their mixer nearby
  • use their laptop for multiple purposes
  • often use other people’s mixers and don’t carry their own to each gig

The other drawbacks to having a mixer with a computer inside include:

  • needing to always have a keyboard and mouse ready if anything goes wrong
  • it’s only really useful for DJing having a big mixer in the way means it’s nearly unusable as a normal machine
  • always will need wall power as it’s a desktop computer – not a laptop with a battery (a power glitch will mean a complete restart)

Share your thoughts in the comments;
Would you want a dedicated computer inside of a DJ mixer?

Other Similar Mixer/Computer Projects

While Thud Rumble might be the first company to successfully get a mixer with a built-in computer to market, we’ve covered a number of other similar projects right here on DJ Techtools.

It’s very much worth nothing that the OBMFLM4 mixer that we covered last November, designed by Sean Ober – looks very similar to Thud Rumble’s Invader prototype – built-in  screen, and a plethora of arcade buttons all over the face. Very different purpose – but very similar concept.

[header photo and additional photos of the Thud Rumble prototype via our friends at Engadget in their full article on the Invader]

intelinvader mixerprototypeqbertthud rumble
Comments (43)
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  • Anthony Alonso

    Have we heard any updates on this?

  • Luiz Zen

    Nice! Inspiring project 🙂

  • mike

    ok ok …if you custom built you don’t have the thud rumble mojo in it …..

  • mike

    i think the future is custom built…for 1200$ you get better parts and a system for your own preferences …its so easy today…
    but you don’t need a mixer today ….

  • couic

    everyone focusing on the computer thing.
    the OS is just a layer. it will probably boot directly on traktor and you won’t see any OS when using the default boot mode.
    although it’s an expensive piece of hardware and it would make sense for NI to leave it open for other software too. if they are smart they’ll put 2 boot modes : Traktor exclusive (and optimized), and windows (i’d totally use ableton live with this thing if it has a decent amount of pads)

    the included computer is a GOOD THING : because it will be standardized and will always be optimized for this hardware (no OSX update bullcrap).

    I suspect the final product will just look like a hybrid between a traktor S(?), and a DJM S9 / sixty two, all of this standalone.

  • Walt White

    what exactly does this mean LOL …

    “currently no soundcard, although they are “working with Native Instruments” to have an audio interface made.”

    why the world would they need native instruments make them a sound card? that is ludicrous. any sound card will work. the sound card thats on the mother board of the Windows 10 / Intel processor mini computer inside Qbert’s mixer will absolutely work for sending audio and receiving traktor time code.

    You dont need a specially designed sound card from Native Instruments. As long as the traktor executable file has the USB device name for the sound card in question on its “authorized” device list… the soundcard will work (any soundcard will work).

    There are youtube videos all over the internet showing guys using the headphone/mic jack on their laptop to hear time code for traktor/serato and control the audio. Granted this is only two channel… but just proves that any sound card is “compatible/capable” of reading any time code for any dj software…. this is common knowledge.

    “authorized traktor certified sound card” just means they paid Native Instruments enough money to get their device name on the list in the next version update.

    Native Instruments is not “making them a sound card” Jesus.

  • Walt White

    wouldnt it be easier to just make this a touch screen and us it as an extended desktop display with a usb touchscreen mouse? then just close your laptop and put it under the dj booth. They that would solve all the people complaining about having to deal with a computer in your dj mixer (which i agree would be annoying). and all the people complaining about having a laptop in the dj booth blocking the view of the dj and distracting the dj from engaging with the crowd.

  • Nikolay

    I guess this is totally bullshit. Especially considering the fact that there will never be OS X support in that monster device.

    • noxxi

      why do you need osx support?

  • couic

    ok. game changer !!!

  • Orion

    I wonder if you’ll be able to invert the screen color. Djing during the day with this mixer could end up being a nightmare.

  • PaulHolland DoubleDutchdj

    Built in screen and computer aside for a sec… if Thud brings free flowing line fades with full curve control, fader reverse and channel swap to a Traktor certified mixer then I’ll be most grateful!

    As some one who’s already tied to taking a mixer out to dj the Invaders gonna simplify things a step further, so it’s got my interest.

    Big thumbs up for a clutter free work surface but a cluster of small modifier/shift/mode buttons near the groups of performance controls would be a must to max the digital dj potential of the controls available. As an all in one unit I’d want hardware access to all key performance features, rmx decks, slice mode, freeze, pad effects etc… via an intuitive workflow. A partnership with djTechtools on the mapping side would a smart move I feel, fine tuning a small number of controls to max intelligent use of digi dj features is a craft techtools have mastered better than anyone. Ultimately it’s a digital dj unit, so getting the control surface – software integration nailed is 100% key.

    I response to some of potential draw backs raised by the article, I’d argue that the invader should be thought as a standalone unit running Traktor rather than stil being your personal laptop that does all your digital duties. Personally the only reason I have a laptop is for dj’n but in reality it gets filled up with fluff, if I had an Invader I’d approach it like I would a cdj with a built in hdd.

  • Anthony Alonso

    WHat kind of screen is that? I need that screen!

  • Envinite

    Still don’t understand the passion behind putting a screen on a big-ass mixer for the sake of portability. I mean, you are bringing a big mixer, portability should not even be an objective there. Besides, the lack of (physical) PC control input make this idea seems like a failure, since touchscreen is not very reliable, not to mention it is more fragile especially on club environment.

    I think the mixer + built-in PC idea would only work for very few people out there who don’t regularly use laptop. At this point, why not just stick a 10″ netbook/ultrabook with SSD on top of the mixer, a soundcard inside the midi case and call it a day? Maybe put ports for external sources so other DJ can play their set too. I don’t think it will exceed $1200 for this concept.

    Let’s play a wait game until someone pull off this idea.

    • Dubby Labby

      Steel is the material of dreams…

  • TheQuakerOatsGuy

    The idea is great but the main problem I have with it is how much more delicate your mixer is going to become. You’ll have a 10″ touch screen and what I think is an Intel Edison. I don’t know about the ruggedness of things like Eidson or Raspberry Pi, but the space inside the box is limited and will have to be shared with an interface which hasn’t been added yet. This is in addition to the concerns with the screen possibly glitching out. I’m all for seeing how this turns out and hope for the best as I’ve seen ideas I thought were trash before flourish.

  • jprime

    Not a fan personally. Screen’s too small, no keyboard for searching, Most of us already have a computer. Neat idea though.

  • Carlos Hernandez

    We are putting screens on CDJs to get rid of the Laptop. Now we are putting screens on a mixer to get rid of the laptop. Soon after this become popular some genius is going to say: “…what if we move the screen outside the CDJs and the mixer so we can have more buttons and faders, and maybe we can add a keyboard and make the screen bigger…”. At that point we will come full circle!

  • NEVERKiLLTIME

    Biters lol, Sean Ober’s mixer is way better in both construction and functionality. They should just hire him to be their head of R&D.

  • AJ Sorbello

    Sean Ober aka DJ Dab also is an amazing scratch DJ.

  • guest100

    DJ Player Pro app.

  • SweetGwendoline

    Wow… this is so cool. A wooden box with some buttons, tiny screen and a windows computer hidden inside. That makes so much more sense than my totally useless 2cm thick retina macbook and a (insert random dvs mixer).

  • Dubby Labby

    I will repost here my comment on djworx.
    ———-

    Seriously… The combo mac mini, ipad with traxxus lemur layout (or splashtop2/duet display) and any mixer/controller is better in any point from price to modularity.
    Also iPad with traktor dj app and s2/4 mk2 is better combo and less risky and if you want dvs go for djplayer and forget about moving 2K€ gear to do some scratching.

    Finally if NI is seriously putting efforts in this and not focusing in improve traktor dj app then traktor is going to fuck itself soon… Nowadays Djay Pro and right controller is more powerful than all this crap (sorry about the rant but it has no sense) doing stems and video at iPad (not pro required) and again cheaper and more portable.

    Conclusion:
    Fitting all these no sense inside a box trying to sell it as “standalone” or “computerless” makes me half angry half laugh. Putting thud rumble, intel (which has abandoned consumer tablet chip market focusing in enterprise and making this a dead road) or NI instruments in the sticker doesn’t make it “bulletproof” or “epicwin” and the first combo I described was out there from years ago now and few people saw the potential (or necessity).

    NI should make their F1, X1mk2 and D2 controllers class compliant (like the did with audio6/10 dj) and wake up for iPad djing (new usb3 cappable of energy charge is the last game changer in the last 3 years).

    Jm2(bilis)c xD

    Edited:
    https://newsroom.intel.com/editorials/accelerating-foundry-innovation-smart-connected-world/

    Intel will produce Arm chips so bye bye x86 for tablet/nuc computers and again makes me think “why to wait for whatever will come from other developers on Arm platform when we have the best working on it since years? Yes I’m talking of Apple and iOS. Answer: We are dumb and don’t know nothing about technology less than formfactor (laptop vs tablet) xD

    ——

  • Greg Tangey

    “Very different purpose – but very similar concept.”

    Umm, how exactly? they’re THE SAME in almost every way. Oh wait, no they’re not, Sean’s is way better done. They completely jacked his thing and did a real shit job of it They’d have been better off paying Sean.

    “Shipping end of 2016” in 4 months? and you’re showing off THAT prototype? yeah, right… we’ll see.

    • Chuck

      I agree, Sean’s version is better. He thought about the soundcard integration (he made it with an Audio8).

    • Spacecamp

      I agree that they’re very close to each other – but what I meant by “different purpose” is that Sean’s OBMFLM4 is crowded full of controls, and has tapered line faders, like a studio desk – and likely won’t work for turntablists like Qbert.

      • Sean Ober

        Hehe, doesn’t have enough controls ;o) and I’m using multiple shift buttons too. Crossfader is rocking’ but no vertical faders :o( Mines is purdier! All my best, Dab

        • Spacecamp

          @seanober:disqus yeah, I would buy yours way sooner… much prettier!

        • deejae snafu

          yours is awesome, too bad you’re not actually producing them….

  • Patch

    I really like the form factor of this unit – the same as a flipped Turntable.
    I’d like to see then take more from the design of the DJM-S9/Z2, and making it 2cm thin is a bad idea. That’s too much of a move away from what we recognise as a “mixer” and not a controller. But, if anyone can drive a significant change in what we see as a “mixer” it’s the guys at Thud Rumble.

  • ghal gol hajt

    Ideally Linux will be a better choice than windows for embedded options. Imagine you are ding and you see a blue screen of death on the screen of your mixer. I know that linux lacks from popular programs but there’s still a good alternative to traktor, its MIXXX!!!

    • Roy Bear

      linux was never an alternative (at least from my perspective), since you don’t have that choise of software. But I can see some movement out there (MIXXX, Bitwig etc), so – knock yourself out.

    • Dubby Labby

      Or ipad directly. I expect some powerpoints presentations from thud rumble mixer lol

    • noxxi

      linux crashes too, and to be honest windows only ever blue screens if you have faulty hardware or are messing nwith asio drivers, which you shouldnt be if your playing.

  • The Fantastix

    I hope this inspires Pioneer to put the brains and the screen of a cdj/xdj in a S9 Battle mixer. So you can put in your Rekordbox USB, hook up turntables and play DVS without an external computer connected

    • Dubby Labby

      I expect something like this before end of the year. More or less the tour series has all the parts nowadays.

    • Chuck

      I hope this won’t inspire Pioneer. Its products are too pricey so i don’t want another over-priced Pioneer labeled Pioneer costing more than what it should!

    • SG

      Well, they could do something like the TOUR series, a fold-out screen on a battle mixer, running Rekordbox.